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Reception in Annapolis important to our future

February 20, 2012

Stand-up comedian Sam Levenson said his father taught him to laugh at his own jokes, because “you should never depend on strangers.” Nor can we depend on strangers in Annapolis to, on their own, discover what Washington County is about.

That’s why the trade fair named “Washington County: We Mean Business!” held in the state capital earlier this month was so important for our development and for our future.

A dozen businesses from across the county, from manufacturing to technology to agriculture, were introduced to lawmakers and state decision-makers at a reception sponsored by a local lobbying coalition, showing us in a strong light and putting us on the radar of those who otherwise might not pay us any mind.

To illustrate, we might ask ourselves, how much do we know about the economic players in Charles County, or any other jurisdiction on the far side of the state? If our answer is “not much,” that’s basically the same thing that lawmakers to the east might say they know about us.

It’s important to get the word out about Washington County, so when legislation or decisions that affect us come to the fore, those in positions of power can identify with our strengths and our needs.

It also shows those with ties to economic development that we have a ready and willing work force, and that the costs of doing business here can be significantly lower than they are nearer the cities.

Many came away from this lobbying effort with a different and more positive view of Washington County. They know what we have to offer the state and what we need in return.

This was a valuable program and advertising money well spent. The importance of putting a face to Washington County cannot be overstated. And we would specifically ask that this lesson be learned by the three Washington County Commissioners who so curiously condemned this lobbying effort and voted against funding it, for reasons as nonsensical as a fear that alcohol would be served. For the record, it was and included wine from a fine local vineyard. It was a big hit.

We thank the City of Hagerstown and other local agencies that helped fund the affair for having a broader worldview and understanding the importance of spreading the word that Washington County is a wonderful place with wonderful people who have much to offer anyone who cares to give us a look.

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